Cotton Cycle Vs. Permanent Press Cycle on Washer Machines

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Learn the right settings will help your clothes last longer.
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Learning about laundry settings is initially confusing. Figuring out which cycle, what temperature and how much water can have you running for the nearest (reasonably priced) laundry service. Before you shrink your shirts or accidentally turn your tidy whites pink, learn what those settings mean. Luckily, the explanations lie partly in the names; the cotton cycle is basically for cotton clothes, and the permanent press cycle helps your casual clothing remain wrinkle free.


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Cotton Cycle Garments

The cotton cycle on a washer is made for heavy-duty linen, like comforters, pillows, towels, washcloths, rugs, draperies and the like. The setting is also used for sturdy cotton clothing, such as jeans, sweatshirts and outerwear, or lighter clothing that is exceptionally dirty. The cotton cycle, also known as the regular cycle, washes and spins vigorously to really scrub the dirt out. The cycle can last from four to 14 minutes.


Permanent Press Garments

The permanent press cycle is for the clothes you wear daily, like shorts, T-shirts, cotton sports shirts, skirts, wash-and-wear dresses and casual pants. Use the permanent press cycle for clothes that have accumulated a normal amount of dirt from consistent wear but that aren't filthy. The permanent press cycle washes clothes thoroughly but doesn't beat, agitate or spin clothes so heavily that they would become damaged. The cycle can run from four to 12 minutes.


Cotton Cycle Temps

The proper temperature for cotton or regular cycles depends on the type of clothes you're washing. For clothes with bright colors that might run, use cold water. For heavy clothes that don't have bright colors, like jeans, the cotton cycle is best used with warm water. Wash white clothes or clothes that are exceptionally dirty in hot water. For all settings, use a cold rinse.


Permanent Press Temps

Temperatures also vary in the permanent press cycle. Use warm water for clothes with an average amount of dirt; use hot water for whites and clothes that are very dirty. The permanent press cycle adds cool water during the wash before spinning and rinsing the clothes; this removes creases caused by washing and prevents clothes from wrinkling. Clothes washed on the permanent press cycle should also be rinsed in cold water.